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John Hodgman On the Coming Geek Culture

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the nerd-empire dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 401

An anonymous reader writes "Famous writer and minor television personality John Hodgman posits the end of the culture of Jockdom in favor of a cultural reverence for engineers, scientists and Slashdot readers: 'Jockdom is very noble. It's not deliberative. It's certainly the best way to win wars. It's the best way to motivate teams of people to fulfill a goal — not just war, but getting things done. The most important way to motivate a factory floor. But as you know, we're not as much of a manufacturing society as we were before. China and other big industrial nations are rewarding their nerds and technicians rather than creating a culture that makes fun of them — it would be wise for us to embrace the book-smart as much as our culture has traditionally embraced the street-smart, the jock-smart. I'm not saying nerds must have their revenge; I'm just saying the time for wedgies is at an end.'"

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moar spams for you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911399)

Look At My Hearse (A GOMH Tribute)

http://lookatmyhearse.googlepages.com/index.html [googlepages.com]

I'm a PC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911403)

I'm a PC and I got first post.

Re:I'm a PC (5, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911661)

From the article:
'My town is the best because the incredibly wealthy owners decided to keep the team for now.' Or, 'My political team is the best because it was my dad's and they best stoke my primitive fears,' as opposed to 'They have the best policies for me and my family.'

Required reading. In a couple of short sentences, he exposes and decodes the core cultural aberration of the false spectacle - the pseudo-life - in which people imagine themselves.

Re:I'm a PC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911771)

Why does Harlem have so many niggers while San Francisco has so many faggots? San Francisco got first choice.

I for one (5, Funny)

Asdanf (1281936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911433)

I, for one, welcome myself as one of our new overlords.

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911639)

As they say "The meek shall inherit the earth ... if that's alright with the rest of you". Well, I guess in this case that would be "the geek shall inherit teh Earth".

Re:I for one (3, Funny)

olingern (1119857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911779)

I, for one, welcome myself as one of our new overlords.

Well, I welcome myself as one of the new supply depots

Re:I for one (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911911)

Sorry will never happen - too many 'B Ark people' hate people who they think are smarter than them.

Re:I for one (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911917)

Yeah, I'm just gonna repost something I wrote a while back that sums up why I think this will never happen:

It's time for nerds to rise up yet again. Throughout modern history in the US, celebration of the nerd has resulted in unprecedented economic prosperity and global economic domination.

From the idolization of Einstein, Feynman, and other physicists, arose the economic superpower that dominated much of the world in the 1950s and 60s.

In the 80s, we were captivated by the message of Revenge of the Nerds, and on the shoulders of this movie we came to dominate the new era of Information.

Ladies, gentlemen: Now is the time. Now is the time to rise up from our comfy chairs, to rise up from our futons, to rise up from the depths of our basements! We must rise up as one united voice of nerd-dom, and speak to the mouthbreathers who have ground us beneath their bootheels since time immemorial. We must tell them:

ENOUGH! Take your stupid sports and shove them. Take your stupid pop music TV shows and shove them. Take your idolization of stupidity and sacrifice it on the altar of curiosity, the altar of edification, and the altar of neckbeards and cheetos!

WE MUST DEFEAT THE...

What's that mom? Yeah... OK... I'll be up for dinner as soon as I finish this level. Did you get some Mountain Dew?

Sorry, gotta go AFK.

Originally posted here [slashdot.org] .

Re:I for one (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911919)

you're already at +5, but that was one of the funniest meme posts I've seen. :)

Hey? (2, Funny)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911447)

Isn't that the guy who played spider-man in those movies???

Re:Hey? (1)

Holi (250190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911523)

Turn in your Nerd Card because you fail. That's John Hodgeman, better known as the PC in the Mac ads.

Re:Hey? (5, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911871)

Turn in your Nerd Card because you fail. That's John Hodgeman, better known as the PC in the Mac ads.

Here, I'll get the rest of the thread out of the way:

"I thought that was the guy on Mystery Science Theater 3000."

"That's Joel Hodgson."

"No, he was on Miami Vice."

"That's Don Johnson!"

"He hosted Hollywood Squares!"

"Tom Bergeron!"

"Brother of Menelaus!"

"Damn it, that's AGAMEMNON!"

(Yes, I stole the last few items from Frisky Dingo.)

Re:Hey? (1)

baxissimo (135512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911573)

Is that a joke? If not please turn in your slashdot card. You have no business being here. If it was, it was terrible. You're right where you belong.

He's not the spiderman guy. He's the "I'm a PC" guy from the Apple commercials.

Re:Hey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912211)

Not to mention prolific writer, and sometimes guest of The Daily Show.

Re:Hey? (1)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911791)

Yeah.

The royalties from film-stardom paid for his daily doughnut injections.

Maybe people should be more well-rounded (4, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911471)

Then you wouldn't be pegged with (and the associated stigmas) of a certain stereotype.

I was heavy into science in high school, as well as sports and other extra-curricular activities. I never had a problem with any group of people.

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (5, Funny)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911563)

[Maybe people should be more well-rounded.] Then you wouldn't be pegged with (and the associated stigmas) of a certain stereotype.

I was heavy into science in high school, as well as sports and other extra-curricular activities. I never had a problem with any group of people.

<sarcasm>
Right - people get picked on in high school because they're not sufficiently well rounded. That was exactly my experience.

How clearly I remember the captain of the wrestling team accosting me in gym class in my sophomore year, throwing me against the wall, and sneering, "You know, you could really benefit from a more diverse set of interests."
</sarcasm>

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (5, Funny)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912235)

Sounds like he had a thing for you and really bad pickup lines.

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (2, Insightful)

rho (6063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912255)

Maybe you were too sarcastic in high school?

A lot of people don't like that, you know.

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912331)

How clearly I remember the captain of the wrestling team accosting me in gym class in my sophomore year, throwing me against the wall, and sneering, "You know, you could really benefit from a more diverse set of interests."

Of course not. But part of why nerds are picked on is because they don't relate well to others. If you like computers, but also literature, soccer, skateboarding, backpacking, or whatever, it's more likely that you'll make friends and not be "that kid who sits alone reading fantasy novels."

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911939)

I prefer specialization. Someone has to do the IT jobs, and I would prefer it to be someone with a lot of IT experience compared to someone with decent IT experience and decent arts experience and decent sports experience.

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912063)

I've lost count of the number of times I've been able to solve a programming problem that specialists are stumped by simply by realising that it was already solved a decade ago in another field and the solution can be moved across.

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912259)

Specialization means no ability to think outside the box. Knowledge is overlapping.

I don't work in IT, but if I had to hire someone that has knowledge of IT and art, or just IT. I would pick the IT and art person. They are most likely more creative and can come up with better solutions.

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (3, Insightful)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911965)

I agree completely. In fact, I seem to recall this whole thread about nine years ago [slashdot.org] ...

What's the big obsession on Slashdot with perpetuating silly stereotypes? It's like people here actually believe that they are B-movie nerds, waging an eternal war against jocks. My friends and I played role-playing games in high school, we liked to mess with the computers. A wild Saturday night was some Pepsi, pizza, and a game of Starfleet Battles.We also played varsity football, basketball, and track. We were in the weight room three days a week.People who thought they were "nerds" thought we were "jocks". The people who thought they were "jocks" thought we were "nerds". I had a lot of fun playing sports and a lot of fun in other activities. You only hurt yourself by letting someone label you.

I think the biggest problem is the labels would appear to identify academic and athletic achievements. When, in reality, they're just certain fringe social groups and kids often allow themselves to be identified as one or the other, to their own loss. The most successful people I know were both in academic and athletic activities while in school, and continue to pursue both physical and mental growth as adults.

Re:Maybe people should be more well-rounded (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912317)

those labels make people feel better about themselves. It lets them identify with other people who might be similar to them.

That's it.

I've met a few "Nerds" in my life. They're about as well-rounded as a square.

I don't disagree with him (1)

Interoperable (1651953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911479)

but I would take everything John Hodgman says with a grain of salt.

Jocks win wars? (3, Insightful)

soundhack (179543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911489)

I don't necessarily think "jockdom" is the best way to win wars. Military history is full of examples of headstrong, impulsive leaders losing while the soft spoken, thoughtful (as in deliberative), strategic leader winning. Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Marcus Aurelius, don't seem to me as typical 'jocks'.

If the previous president is any indication, jocks are more likely to start wars, for inane reasons, and either lose or not finish the job. Not that I think of Bush as a jock, but he certainly wasn't a nerd/geek. There should probably be three categories, 'jock','nerd','loser/lamer'

Re:Jocks win wars? (3, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911601)

Even at an implementation level, the jockdom approach to war was over decades ago. Oppenheimer et al, and many, many others over the years have obsoleted most of that approach.

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912051)

Not really. When more than one country has nukes all nukes do is counter/deter nukes.

Using a nuke for anything else than responding to a nuke would be utterly suicidal and even then your country may be better off not launching a retaliatory strike if the initial attack was fairly limited.

Boots on the ground blood and guts warfare is here to stay until one country develops the next atom bomb and that effect will only last as long as only one country has that weapon.

Re:Jocks win wars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911607)

.Military history is full of examples of headstrong, impulsive leaders losing while the soft spoken, thoughtful (as in deliberative), strategic leader winning. Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Marcus Aurelius, don't seem to me as typical 'jocks'.

Yet they all had an athletic prowess that the modern-day, stereotypical geek completely lacks. Simply outthinking your opponent isn't enough to win wars. You have to outthink AND outdo. Geeks, by and large, lack the muscle mass to accomplish the "doing" part.

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911675)

"Military history is full of examples of headstrong, impulsive leaders losing while the soft spoken, thoughtful (as in deliberative), strategic leader winning. Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Marcus Aurelius, don't seem to me as typical 'jocks'."

The military incorporates a wide range of people as it must. The strategist and leaders have their roles, the "tactical athletes" have theirs, and there is plenty of overlap.

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911719)

Sun Tzu, Machiavelli, Marcus Aurelius

Genghis Khan [amazon.com] was also very much a geek when it comes to war.

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911797)

Yeah, I was kind of thinking that too.

It varies, and I think jock/nerd is pretty well orthogonal to warfighting ability. Eisenhower, famously, was a football coach, and Patton on the battlefield was his star player; on the other hand, a succession of distinctly jockish Union commanders failed against the Confederacy's much better lineup of jocks, and it took nerds like Grant and Sherman to show them how it was done. As far as the front line goes, if you get a bunch of sports-obsessed young men together in an army, making themselves think of themselves as the home team at a the big game is one very effective way to motivate them, but it's not the only way. Going farther back, the Greeks were jocks, the Romans were nerds; look how that turned out.

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912275)

Patton was a jock. He was brazen and would frequently take risks that other commanders would have deemed too risky.

Patton was a nerd. He designed a cavalry sword that was utilized by US forces. He also is one of the fathers of tank warfare.

Patton was a well-rounded individual, likely one of the most exemplary Americans that have ever graced this country.

As a side note, West Point tries to graduate well rounded officers. Knowledgeable in math and foreign languages and much as military matters.

Re:Jocks win wars? (2, Interesting)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911873)

Jocks won wars back when mankind was throwing spears at each other. Once we got guns that could out-range the strongest spear-thrower, the jocks were obsolete.

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912101)

Except those jocks he mentions on the factory floor. You know, the ones putting together the components of the steal fighters and artillery pieces...

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912285)

Jocks won wars back when mankind was pounding on each other with their bare fists. Once we picked up rocks that hit harder than the strongest brawler, the jocks were obsolete...

Jocks won wars back when mankind was pounding on each other with rocks. Once we stuck the rocks on sticks, the jocks were obsolete...

Jocks won wars back when mankind was pounding on each other with sticks with rocks attached. Once we figured out we could throw those sticks, the jocks were obsolete...

Jocks won wars back when mankind was throwing spears at each other. Once we figured out that a stick with a string could out-range the strongest spear-thrower, the jocks were obsolete...

Modern equipment for a soldier is heavy. Soldiers have to be in rather hostile environments. Just because the human isn't providing the power to propel the weapon doesn't mean that Jockish attributes aren't necessary in modern combat.

Re:Jocks win wars? (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912353)

Right, that must be why all the nerds in high school ended up in the Marines, Army and other best fighting forces on Earth and all the jocks ended up sitting around in their parent's basements lifting weights and playing CoD4 wishing they were badass and smart like us.

Re:Jocks win wars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912273)

There should probably be three categories, 'jock','nerd','loser/lamer'

I really thought you were going to say "dicks, pussies and assholes"

Bush was a jock wannabe (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912367)

He wanted to be a jock-- wannabe types are often worse than the real thing.
Bush wasn't good enough to be in sports and probably was a wimp like his father. He was a cheerleader because that is the best he could do (and they weren't like the ones of today.)
A wimp acting like a strong leader is also worse than the real thing; I don't know why so many people thought he had leadership skills because it was fairly clear he was a wannabe on that as well-- if not also overcompensating for the wimp label of his father; nobody calls Bush Jr a wimp, if they fell for his act.

Try being around lots of kids - doing similar things - it makes it easier to spot when adults do the same thing! Adults are often just more sophisticated more socialized children; similar behaviors and motives but with a better disguise.

NERD ALERT!!! (4, Funny)

Nazlfrag (1035012) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911497)

Pffft, who's gonna listen to this pathetic, whinging, scrawny little dweeb?

Books smarts mean nothing outside of books (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911503)

And since we live in the real world, people that combine intelligence with street smarts will always be the most valuable. Not just in war, but in any endeavor that requires getting a group of mad apes to come together.

That being said, I think the jock thing is a little overblown. Plenty of near-autistic nerds with no social skills are getting paid just fine, despite our supposed jockocracy and out societies baffling refusal to put us at the center of the universe.

Us vs them (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911529)

Jockdom? Wedgies?

How many stereotypes can you cram into an article. Besides, my experience of school and beyond, was more about
a very small group of borderline retards, disrupting everyone else.

Re:Us vs them (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911973)

He writes books. He has targeted people who call themselves geeks as his audience, surprisingly he writes what they want to hear so he sells books.

I think this USED to be a problem (1)

alexborges (313924) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911587)

But not anymore.

And you can look at the younger generation and even as I do want to send them back to school until they learn to properly write in their mother tongue (not their mother's tongue, which would be desirable, but trumps on some human rights) or tell them to just die already instead of making "statements" by using the exact same haircut than their peers, they are MUCH more tolerant.

Really.

MTV giveth, id say. Even if MTV taketh otherth thtuff away too.

Not mutually exclusive (5, Interesting)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911611)

The dichotomy between nerds and jocks is a false one, and it has been for some time. The stereotypes assert that "jocks" who are socially active, athletic, and attractive must not have any interest in technology, be smart, or value intellectual pursuits. Likewise, "nerds" who are smart and dedicated to learning must be slobs, socially awkward, and unattractive. This hasn't been the case at any time in the last decade or so that I've been paying attention. Some of the smartest and most academically successful people at my high school, who went on to attend highly prestigious universities, some to study science and engineering, were also athletic, social, attractive people. Many of the socially awkward nerds were not smart and did not value learning. In college, a significant percentage of my incredibly smart engineering colleagues had been high school football stars, loved to party, and were quite successful in relationships.

Now that I'm in law school, it's clear that my fellow students value intelligence (including technical knowledge) right along with social prowess and appearance. The entire spectrum of personal attributes is not only respected, but expected in these circles. I believe this has been the norm among high-performing, successful people for quite some time now - it's not even clear that the jock-nerd dichotomy every really existed the way it is portrayed. As far as I can tell, the real divide has everything to do with social skills and nothing to do with intelligence.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911953)

Like most social dichotomies, it exists as long as people believe it exists, and clearly a lot of people still do believe that. I blame this on high school. In the adult world, of course you're right that there are plenty of smart social people and dumb asocial ones, and generally speaking, the working world rewards people who are good at both their jobs and shooting the shit with their coworkers. But in high school, the lines are pretty clearly drawn. Kids who are good at math don't get laid, no matter how good-looking they are. Football coaches strongly discourage their star players from taking tough classes to make sure they'll have more time for practice. That kind of thing. It takes a long time for people to get over this, and some never do.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (2, Interesting)

SirWhoopass (108232) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912121)

I think believe you are correct, in that the dichotomy exists only if people believe it to exist. I also think you are buying into it yourself. I played high school football, the coaches encouraged academic success. The captain of the football team was valedictorian (my school used a weighted GPA system, so only students taking honors courses would rank at the top, getting all As grades in shop and art classes would actually hurt your GPA).

As for the mathematicians not getting laid... well, that's probably true. Looking back on high school, it is also true that far fewer kids were getting laid than I thought were. And only a tiny fraction of those who claimed to be getting laid really were.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912305)

It varies by time and place, I suppose. In my high school experience (mid-80's, Denver) "student-athlete" was almost an oxymoron, as a matter of unwritten but well-understood policy. The few students who did excel both academically and athletically ran into just enormous amounts of bullshit from the school and from other students. And from everything I've heard since then, I suspect my experience was a lot more typical than yours, but of course I don't know for sure.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911955)

You make a good argument, but it is simply not believable. I refuse to believe that Hollywood would have lied to me this badly for no other reason than to take my money.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (1)

jhfry (829244) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911971)

Agreed.

However, there is something to be said about the social pariah's ability to focus on pursuits that many social people would never have time to invest in.

This, I believe is the source for the stereotype. Essentially, if I am smart but not very social, then I am more likely to achieve a depth of understanding that a more social, athletic, and busy person may... thus I have achieved a level of knowledge that he just didn't have time for.

The greatest thing that we can do, and are doing, to help destroy that stereotype, is to make being a nerd a highly social behavior. Already, tech has come to dominate the wish lists of teens everywhere, which has made it easy for the "nerd" type to be involved socially. Additionally, there are far more opportunities for "nerds" to find other "nerds" with similar interests and thus socialize about those interests.

Essentially, the nerds are no longer antisocial, they just spend more time socializing about the things they love... which in turn has greatly torn down the "nerd"/"jock" argument.

I was one of the first social "nerds" in my high school (class of '95). To this day, I am uninterested in sports and most of the other subjects that the highly social folks at my school were interested in... but I had a place in their social circles because tech was just becoming something that everyone needed to understand and I was knowledgeable, friendly, and not so embarrassing to be seen with. However, I did have friends who dedicated far more time to their stereotypical "nerd" hobbies and in a way I was always jealous of them.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912021)

Way to miss the concept of stereotypes.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (2, Insightful)

TheGuapo (864659) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912035)

"Now that I'm in law school"...

Maybe law is one of those special places where the dichotomy falls apart. To be completely honest, my experience (through high school, college, and even into my professional life) have been nearly the opposite of yours. I think the socially adept, athletic, outgoing yet book-smart intellectual individual is much more of the exception. I know 1 person that truly fits that description.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912139)

I don't know dude, in the engineering building we had a lot of geeks, dweebs and everything else. I mean, sure there were some studs such as myself and a few others...but I can't honestly recall a hot girl. Maybe 1 or 2. But there were lots and lots of hotties in the business buildings.

Is it black and white? No. But there was a noticeable difference in the clientele between engineering and business on campus.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912399)

In matters of fashion, swim with the current. In matters of conscience, stand like a rock - Thomas Jefferson

I don't think this dichotomy ever really existed- better minds have discovered that the most successful people are educated AND social. People fall into stereotypes as an excuse to under-achieve.

Re:Not mutually exclusive (1)

BooRolla (824295) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912435)

I mean seriously. Checkout Bruce Wayne. Truly a renaissance man

He's a Writer!?! (1)

aliases (874562) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911631)

That explains why he does Apple commercials.

Politics (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911649)

Considering one of our two major political parties seems to take pride in scientific ignorance and encourages its supporters to do the same, the chance of this happening is nil.

Nonsense. (5, Interesting)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911651)

Women, despite outnumbering men, have been unable to achieve equality in macho culture despite at least 100 years of effort. No big reason to think that nerds will do any better.

Re:Nonsense. (1)

summery (1379071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911907)

The geek-nerd paradigm and the jock paradigm are both for men. No big loss as far as jocks are concerned; but it's too bad where geek-nerds are concerned. A world with more women developers would be a better one.

Re:Nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912233)

Women, despite outnumbering men, have been unable to achieve equality in macho culture despite at least 100 years of effort. No big reason to think that nerds will do any better.

that's because women have a vagina, a lot of men want it, and the women never really got over it. so most of their life is centered around getting as much in return for giving up access to the vagina as they can possibly get. so they want to be the center of attention any chance they get, and they'd rather worry about their makeup than worry about things like the fact that they're driving a moving car, or anything that requires abstract thought like technology. hey when you're pretty and desirable you never have to grow up, so you can be a 20something female who is childish and superficial and undisciplined and overreacts to everything. for the tiny percentage of women who understand what's wrong with that, well, they say all the good ones are taken, and it's true. you can find really, really great women, as long as you're prepared to meet their husbands and boyfriends.

i don't think this compares with the nerd situation.

Posted with another browser (so no cookies) and a proxy server. Why? Because Slashdot doesn't think that 10 minutes between posts is long enough to wait. I disagree and the customer is always right. I encourage others to do the same.

Apply Hanlon's razor here (0)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911653)

I think Hodgman has a point. We're steadily embracing geek culture. Interoperable (in an earlier post) also makes a point that we should only take his word so far. Unless we somehow figure out a way to turn geekdom into an ecclesiastical theocracy and imprint our memes upon all of society to forever quash jocks and preppies, there will always be jocks, and there will always be preppies, and there will always be idiots, which is why I'm bringing up Hanlon's Razor here, and General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord's addendum to Hanlon's Razor.

Currently "jocks" are in charge (aka the smart and industrious). Let's face it, jocks are smart in their chosen fields. However, geeks are the smart and lazy segment, and we are running the world now. Jocks will always be smart and they will always do things the hard way and expend the most effort. Geeks on the other hand, will always be smart, but we're always looking for the most efficient way to do things. That's why we're currently becoming dominant IMHO in the American social structure, and probably why we will continue to be dominant for a while to come

Now, does anyone have a better view or a better argument? I need to learn something today and (sadly) lately the only place where I've been able to learn new things or realize that my assumptions are wrong is /.

Put your backbone into it (2, Insightful)

meniah (186455) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911665)

While Hodgeman may be a comedian by trade, he has a great point. Though, where I live (Portland Oregon) the numbers of Geeks-to-non-Geeks is shoring up over time. In fact, I think Portland was recently declared the 3rd most geek-friendly place in the world.

Truth is, the geek inherited the earth long ago. They just need to rise up and grow a backbone. It can be done. Right? Anyone? Bueler?

Re:Put your backbone into it (1)

capt.Hij (318203) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912131)

and become the testosterone infused jocks that we hate so much....

Can't someone be a jock AND a nerd? (1)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911677)

The fact that someone can be both a jock and a nerd proves that this whole dichotomy of jock vs nerd is wrong. In my opinion, Nerds and Jocks are more like the opposite ends of a spectrum. I am definitely more on the nerd end, but I've seen people at all points on that spectrum.

Re:Can't someone be a jock AND a nerd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912079)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neils_Bohr

Re:Can't someone be a jock AND a nerd? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912229)

Can't someone be a jock AND a nerd?

Only if you are comfortable giving wedgies to yourself.

f this guy (1)

captain_cthulhu (996356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911683)

I just don't find this guy funny or even all that intelligent. what is he even saying here? yes the US has been trailing in science and math education for a while and yes we know that trend must stop - stating the obvious doesn't make it so, it's not funny (obligatory nerd/wedgie comment not withstanding) and it's not smart or original. if he did 'I'm a Linux' commercials he might not come across as such a d-bag.

Re:f this guy (2, Insightful)

Pete Venkman (1659965) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911839)

I also have a problem with this guy thinking he's clever by speaking on behalf of nerds like he's a nerd prophet. Dos preguntas: 1) Does this guy think that because he wears glasses that he is automatically a nerd? 2) If he is a nerd, who gave him the power to speak for anyone else that claims to be a nerd?

You're telling me this, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911689)

Now?

  -Jack O'Neill

Ungrateful bastards to a man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911699)

It's true that people don't appreciate what the geeks do for them.

I was reading a programming book while waiting for the train once, and this kid and his friend start laughing at the "brainiac" who's weird enough to read books when he doesn't have to.

Then the kid whips out his cell phone and starts poking at it. I said, "sure, you love using technology, but you don't think anyone should know how to make it?" Dumbass.

Geek culture already won? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911707)

I thought the geek culture ALREADY won? Once upon a time, getting the latest tech gadget would have been nerdy, yeah, but today everyone has mp3 players, iPods/iPhones are as much about brand, fashion, being hip, etc as anything else. Everyone has a computer and uses the internet. Back in the day, calling up a BBS and leaving messages to your friends was nerdy. Today, posting on your friend's facebook wall or sending out tweeks is normal. Even gaming has come to the masses more and more with things like the Wii/DS and smartphone gaming (not to mention all the casual online games and whatnot that get passed around... often on the aforementioned social networking sites and sometimes with the also aforementioned smartphone devices).

Okay, there are still plenty of areas that fall only within the realm of geekdom such as tabletop RPG gaming and a love of mathematics for the sake of mathematics. But as far as technology goes, geek culture has already taken over.

It won't happen (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911711)

Our culture does not respect those whose labor directly produces wealth. In fact, it doesn't even have a clue about how to become wealthy and stay wealthy now. The very fact that companies look at their domestic wealth-producing workers and think "these guys are optional" rather than going to H.R., middle management, etc. for budget cuts is proof of that.

Re:It won't happen (4, Insightful)

kz45 (175825) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912201)

"Our culture does not respect those whose labor directly produces wealth. In fact, it doesn't even have a clue about how to become wealthy and stay wealthy now. The very fact that companies look at their domestic wealth-producing workers and think "these guys are optional" rather than going to H.R., middle management, etc. for budget cuts is proof of that."

In an army, the privates are important, but mostly replaceable. A general (and other people that are making important decisions), on the other hand, cannot be replaced easily.

Even though you don't want to hear it, it works the same way with companies. Most non-management jobs are important, but replaceable. It's just a fact of life. On top of this fact, we have an economy where there is a surplus of talent and employees.

You say that H.R and middle management are easily replaceable? I would have to disagree. Not everyone can do those positions well. I would not want the job of determining who gets fired. I also don't enjoy managing other programmers or filling my day with meetings.

The trick to not being replaced is to have some sort of domain knowledge that makes it painful for the company to find someone to replace you.

Dear Mr. Hodgman: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911725)

You're gimmick about geek culture is very late. I suggest you research the term technocracy [wikipedia.org] .

Despite your tardiness, you still deserve a C for trying.

Yours In Novorossisyk,
Kilgore Trout

Only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911757)

In the rest of the world we have never been dominated by the whole "jock, nerd, cheerleader" culture that people seem to almost enjoy in the US. For example you ever talk to anyone from Asia and they're already a "nerd culture" with the alpha nerds being the head of the school (*although I'm not sure they get the women).

I never understood why teachers encourage this in US schools by allowing sporting teams to get more money than science clubs and ignoring bullying so it almost has an international rep'. You guys don't even find it odd that kids can go around assaulting each other or stealing each other's money, it is just very blah.

In the schools here, if you hit someone else you would likely be removed. If you stole from them they would literally call in the police.

Huh? (1)

steve-balt (1578245) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911761)

Since when does street-smart have anything to do with jocks? For that matter, *-smart. Jock-smart is any oxymoron

FFC's Bram Stoker's BattleStar Galactica? (3, Funny)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911803)

Hodgman ... played minor parts in Tina Fey's Baby Mama, Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying and Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Battlestar Galactica.

No wonder the ending of BSG was so out there. Too many chefs spoil the stew.

Jocks are FEARFUL ! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911821)

The jocks [or anyone who chases dominance] are deeply insecure, and need external support for their fragile egos. Why else be so sensitive to perceived slights? The truly strong merely shrug them off. Strength means confidence, and confidence does not require continual demonstration.

Here I am talking only about constructive society. There are also predatory societies where it is necessary to grab eveything you can. Doomed to implosion. Or in dealing with the stupid, who sometimes need to see teeth.

Since these guys should know themselves best, I take them at their word.

Re:Jocks are FEARFUL ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912209)

Talk about a fragile ego...

A solution to over population (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29911835)

A cultural shift to mostly geek virgins should dramatically reduce over population and save resources. The one risk is eventual extinction so there would have to be strict limits placed on the number of World of Warcraft players.

Re:A solution to over population (2, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912431)

Unfortunately for the geek, most chicks are still evolutionarily wired to look for the big, broad-shouldered types to mate with.

And as far as population and evolution go: he who gets the most tail, wins.

Not Anymore.. (2, Insightful)

TrippTDF (513419) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911931)

It's certainly the best way to win wars.

Jockdom is no longer the best way to win wars... Look at Iraq and Afganistan- we're slowly moving away from big ass bombs to smarter, more humanitarian ways of winning a series of wars that have more to do with culture and education than with fighting. Jocks-schmocks!

We already do (4, Insightful)

nate nice (672391) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911933)

I'm a nerd, enjoy math and computer science and worked hard at it. I have a job that pays really well compared to most people. I come in and go when I want and am responsible for myself. Most people I know in this field have similar lifestyles. I don't see how I'm being cheated or not rewarded.

It's not what you know, it's who you know (2, Insightful)

pastafazou (648001) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911963)

or so the expression goes. And it is absolutely 100% true. It basically comes down to this: those with excellent social skills will have far more opportunities in life than those with weak social skills. Jockdom tends to develop the social skills, Geekdom, not so much. This is why jocks seem to always be doing well for themselves, even when they're not the smartest, or even not smart at all.

I'm not so sure... (3, Interesting)

ThousandStars (556222) | more than 4 years ago | (#29911977)

Based on essays like Neal Stephenson's Turn On, Tune In, Veg Out [nytimes.com] , How Culture Keeps Students Out of Science [chronicle.com] , and Paul Graham's Why Nerds are Unpopular [paulgraham.com] , I'm not so sure. Those essays look back, yes, but I don't think I've seen the kind of fundamental shift described in the article. The Beer and Circus [jseliger.com] mentality on colleges still seems alive and well.

I'd love to be wrong. But I don't think I am.

Can't we be both? (1)

Caue (909322) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912009)

Am I the only one that know "jocks" that exceled in science, math or eny other geek domain as well? I love sports; as a brazilian, soccer mostly. But I played rugby when I lived in australia, and I surf every other weekend. I was never a bully, by the way. I guess in america all jocks are dumb and bullies. Geek, jock, we are all just plain old "people" in Brazil. My closest friends are all sports-lovers and/or geeks. No segregation.

The wise stay fit (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912057)

Yes but if you're truly smart then you'll realize that being athletic isn't something to be avoided. It's something you strive for. A healthy body == a healthy mind. Discard those stereotypes and do yourself a favor. Put down the bag of chips and go for a walk. It will pay better dividends than anything you can ever learn.

Imma PeeCee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912087)

What does he know, he's a PC...I want Mac's opinion.

nerdz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912105)

Being a geek implies a sense of style. I prefer being a nerd.

Nothing new to Asia (1)

butabozuhi (1036396) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912147)

Asia has traditionally rewarded intelligence and hard work (versus jockdom). The smart ones (who score really high on standardized tests) get that way from hours (had been 12+ hour days of before school, school, and after school including weekends) of studying. Less so now, but in the past if you scored well you got into the best schools, best universities, then automatically into the best jobs in the country. Take baseball in Japan as an example of their 'jockdom.' They're paid well, but no where near UH levels. They play hard (practices are grueling) and people expect them to essentially 'use themselves up' during the course of their careers. US ballplayers (in the 80s) who went over had 'special treatment' as they were excused from the more rigorous work by the Japan players. Other cultures and nations simply do not put athletes on pedestals like we do in the US. They admire their skill but don't treat them like they're the most important people in the country. People who work hard, are skilled (craftsmen, artisans), or smart (scientists, engineers) are appropriately valued.

Geeks at war (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912189)

Surely getting a geek to build you an atom bomb, or whatever, is more effective then sending a jock off to wrestle with the enemy.

I've also got to wonder what the survival rate at war is for geeks vs jocks? I'd have to guess the geeks do better, and it's hard to win a war (not to mention somewhat meaningless) if you're dead.

Jockdom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29912287)

You spelled "Jock-dumb" wrong. Hand in your geek card.

Motivational (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912319)

I do look forward to the XKCD motivational posters.

Johnny is a bit slow... (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912365)

Geek culture has been around for a long while now. A large number of movies have been based on comic books lately and have been successful. The SyFy channel is enjoying some of the highest viewership it has ever had and, in part, due to remakes of some Science Fiction classics like Battlestar Galactica (even MST3K pokes fun at Battlestar, for crying out loud!). Video games are considered a daily activity by many. Don't even get me started at how huge Magic: The Gathering got ... The fact of the matter is, Geek Culture is now a staple of American culture. The resident computer geek is someone that gets thanked, paid and taken out to dinner for stripping all the crap off of your friend's computer. I'd have to say John hasn't been paying very close attention.

Nerds dominate media (1)

cretog8 (144589) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912375)

OK, maybe overstated. But I think it was 2 years ago or so that I saw Conan O'Brien interviewing Quentin Tarantino, and WOW, those are two enormous nerds. From what I've seen of Tarantino, he can't help himself, and maybe O'Brien can but instead makes fun of himself for it. These are the people defining pop culture, and they're us (well, except they're a lot better at it than me, but...)

Sad (5, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912411)

It's sad to see middle-aged men still talking about stuff that happened to them in high school. I know John Hodgman is hardly serious, but the more I know about the USA the more it sounds like a country of 17-year old self-claimed losers who get publicly humiliated on a daily basis by having their underpants pulled up.

Seriously, it's sad to see grown men still dragging along their high school complexes. Jocks and nerds? Grow the fuck out of it. Not only must every single god damn American TV show plot that's centred around males at school must be about so-called losers who get humiliated by big mean guys and mean "popular girls", on top of that you have a very significant portion of the American adult population who must completely identify and go out of their way to fit the stereotypes, from reading children's comic books about superior men in tight pants who avenge anyone by kicking the arse of the big mean guys (yes, so-called losers enjoy escapism by means of reading about a superior man who kicks all the arse they never had the balls to kick themselves) to being pansies who'll get pushed around by their wife as if they were still 12 and that the chick was their mom, probably because they feel that so-called losers don't need to grow some balls and become a man, so they forever remain whiny overgrown teenagers who play with Star Wars figurines and get flashbacks of having their underpants pulled up. If you're gonna play something that involves dungeons and you're over 20, it'd better involve gags and leather restraints.

As an outsider, watching that shit is getting increasingly painful. We don't even have a word for wedgie cause no one gets their underpants pulled up in France, except maybe girls with G-strings that stick out of their pants, so that's hard to relate to your neurosis. It's like your entire culture and civilisation revolves around men with complexes who can't grow out of their teenager bullshit. Look at movies. How many of them are about a loser hero any other loser can relate to and who becomes a loser+ by staying a loser so you can still relate but in the process accomplishing something great? As in "big jewy loser who never kissed a girl and plays WoW goes through a bunch of adventures and in the end he kisses a hot chick whom he thought was "out of his league", whatever the fuck that means". Or "divorced middle-aged loser with a crappy job saves the world and gets with a hot woman". Sometimes it seems like you ALL must think of yourselves as loser, one way or another. That's pathetic.

Mice vote to bell cat (1)

thegameiam (671961) | more than 4 years ago | (#29912425)

News at 11...

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